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Money Sought for Wisconsin Voter Photo ID Education

A driver's license is one form of acceptable voter photo ID in Wisconsin, but other documents also will suffice. Money has been requested by a state agency to educate voters about acceptable ID. (Wisconsin DOT)
A driver's license is one form of acceptable voter photo ID in Wisconsin, but other documents also will suffice. Money has been requested by a state agency to educate voters about acceptable ID. (Wisconsin DOT)
May 13, 2016

MADISON, Wis. - Long lines and lengthy wait times were evident in Wisconsin's presidential primary election in early April, and now the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB), which oversees elections in the state, is requesting a $250 million from the Legislature for a statewide ad campaign to educate voters about photo ID requirements.

The GAB wants to get the campaign rolled out soon, because Wisconsin's Partisan Primary, where many state and local races will be narrowed down, is Tuesday, August 9, and the presidential election is in November.

Reid Magney, spokesperson for the GAB, says if they get the money, the campaign will run not only on Wisconsin radio and TV stations, but on a number of other media.

"Desktops and mobile devices and other things like that for people in Wisconsin," says Magney. "It may also, depending on what alternatives the commission chooses, put some of those ads up on movie screens before the feature starts."

According to Magney, voters can easily learn about what's required under the photo ID law by going to the website BringIt.Wisconsin.gov or by calling 866-WIS-VOTE.

The GAB will be replaced by a new agency, the Wisconsin Elections Commission, on June 30.

Magney says they want the ad campaign to begin in July, and that the transition probably will not hold up the decision on funding, which will come from the Legislative Joint Finance Committee.

He says it's important for people to realize that while photo ID is now necessary to vote in Wisconsin, getting appropriate ID isn't that hard for most people.

"The campaign's message is that most people already have the ID they need in order to vote," says Magney. "But it also says that if they don't have one, they can get a free ID for voting at the DMV even if they don't have some documents like a birth certificate."

The complete list of acceptable forms of ID to obtain voter ID is available at BringIt.Wisconsin.gov.

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI